Arising need for MBA students to understand the law

When investment bankers and corporate lawyers negotiate, one speaks Greek and the other Latin, because while one is focused on the numbers, the other only cares about risks and words. There has always been a large gap between law and management in India. In more developed parts of the world like the US and Europe the lag is rapidly reducing. The demand for professionals with the knowledge of both fields is on a steep rise. In India, as well, the gap is bound to diminish because of the prevailing market conditions. All sectors today are so highly regulated that it has become vital for a management level individual to be well versed with the law. Sectors like telecom, aviation, insurance, banking, media, health and others are so highly regulated that a management needs to necessarily be well aware of the regulations and the law governing these sectors. In the normal course of work at a company, the legal team gives an opinion relating to a regulation or risk faced by the company in its course of work. Then the management of the company takes the final call on the action that is to be taken. This structure worked fine till the time the laws and regulations were limited and a mere basic understanding would suffice. But, the problem arises when the regulations become so dynamic that an in-depth understanding becomes a necessity for managers to comprehend and react to situations. The management is responsible for its decisions and it cannot blindly trust the opinion of the legal department without analyzing and understanding the same. This leads to a requirement of management level individuals equipped with a basic understanding of the law, such that they can at least interpret the advice rendered by the legal department. Without a thorough grasp of company, labor, industrial and commercial law, a MBA graduate feels handicapped even when he is a part of the management of a company. The best foreign B-schools like Harvard Business School have started a JD (Law) + MBA course, which has gone on to become one of the most popular and sought after courses in the world because of the demand in the market. Moreover, today anyone inmiddle or senior management is required to be equipped with diverse skills, such that they aid in taking decisions and managing the company and the human resources. One of the vital skills is the knowledge of the relevant laws. Law is no rocket science and does not require any prerequisites for learning or one to take up a degree, but an effort needs to be made to be equipped with the law. There are some excellent law courses available for students who do not have a background in law. For example you can find short term law courses especially for management students and non-lawyers on topics like capital markets law, securities market law, mergers and acquisition law, which would interest anyone interested in the field of finance or strategy. Similarly Media Law, Intellectual Property Rights Law and Sports Law can be helpful for those interested in marketing. For those interested in general management, a thorough understanding of the commercial contracts and corporate law would be a boon. Having said that, knowledge of the law may not be mandatory for entering into management, but the knowledge of the laws and regulations definitely compliments an MBA very well. It gives you the added advantage over others and boosts your career prospects adding another dimension to your profile. Employers today want a candidate with a multi-dimensional profile, one who is capable of climbing the corporate ladder swiftly and worth every penny of the compensation he is paid. I believe MBA students or even those thinking of taking up an MBA should consider taking some courses that compliment your field of interest. As an MBA student, you will definitely benefit from such courses and the knowledge of relevant laws by highlighting your willingness to understand business comprehensively. For working professional this would facilitate your rise in the organization. Please feel free to post your queries here. Best of Luck!